Every CV should start with a Personal Profile, to immediately catch the reader’s attention and quickly communicate your brand identity. However, writing a Personal Profile could be the most difficult section in your CV and this is why, we usually recommend working on it at the very end. Think of your Personal Profile as a good summary of your professional life. Once you have listed your work and study experience, outlined your achievements and skills, you should have a clearer idea of what your next step in your career is and therefore, it should be easier to develop your Personal Profile.
A good Personal Profile should effectively communicate your brand identity (who you are, professionally speaking), the experience you have gained through your study / work experience, and what your career objectives are.
Time and time again we have read, “I am a good team player, but also able to work independently.” Or “I am an excellent communicator, with high attention to detail.”
The Personal Profile is the first part of your CV a recruiter or hiring manager reads. Just like a headline, or the first paragraph in a newspaper article, it needs to grab the reader’s attention. It should have an impact. When we read a good one, we sit up in our chairs and think, now this person could be just what we are looking for. We are excited to continue reading!
This is important from a psychological perspective. We all know how important making a good first impression is, when you have a good first impression, you look for additional supporting evidence in the CV to support that positive first impression. The opposite is also true. If a recruiter of hiring manager reads the Personal Profile and it is full of clichés and generic sentences, they are left feeling negative about the candidate and will look for other reasons to ignore or discard the CV.
The Personal Profile should be just that, personal. You should not be able to copy and paste your Personal Profile onto someone else’s CV. Mostly important, the personalisation needs to match the job description of the role you are applying for.
If the job description asks for an accountant with manufacturing experience, ensure your personal profile states that. If the job description asks to be a qualified solicitor with at least two years PQE experience, cover this in the Personal Profile.
Having read the job description, you should understand the main – and most important – elements of the role and know what is required from a successful candidate. So for instance, if you are looking for a job in the marketing communication field and the job description requires someone with a demonstrable track record of marketing results, then you should highlight how your skills made a difference in the company you worked for. e.g. “Whilst working for 123 company, I effectively communicated my ideas to the sales team, who then implemented them; leading to a 12% increase in turnover.”
Be coincise, effective and try to communicate concrete and positive results!
Just like when you read the first few paragraphs of a great book, you are left wanting to read more, a personalised, Personal Profile, unique to the job description you are applying for, could make all the difference and leave your audience wanting to know more, pick up the phone and invite you for an interview.
Article by Paul Wilson (Director @ CV&Coffee).